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Charlotte Amalie
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St. Croix Native Helping Women Worldwide

Oct. 13, 2008 — The first real sign that Patsy Morris was not going to be your typical female came at age four. Her family had the audacity to buy her a doll for Christmas, even though Patsy thought she had made it clear — she didn't want a doll. She wanted a fire truck.
Christmas arrived, and little Patsy received a doll. Her family, in turn, received a wakeup call.
"I had a major tantrum," Morris recalled with a laugh, "and my mother sent my godfather out to get me a fire truck. The moral of the story is, because I was a girl, I was supposed to have a doll. But my interest wasn't a doll. It was breaking barriers, expanding opportunities."
Morris has been doing just that ever since. Newly installed last month as the head of an international woman's organization, the St. Croix native — who goes by Pat or Patricia when not at home on St. Croix — works tirelessly to enable women around the world to find support, if not a lifeline. She was selected from a pool of more than 100 candidates to head the organization Peace X Peace (Peace by Peace), based in Washington, D.C.
Before that, Morris developed global programs on behalf of Women for Women International, which helps women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives. She also served as deputy director of the Commission on the Advancement of Women at InterAction, a coalition of more than 150 humanitarian organizations providing disaster relief, refugee assistance and sustainable-development programs worldwide.
Morris holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Florida State University and is an adjunct professor in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C.
While hers may seem like a long road from St. Croix, nothing about Morris' success surprises her friend Sandra Setorie. The two met more than 20 years ago when their children were young, and they share a kindred spirit when it comes to community building. Setorie, the assistant executive director of the Public Services Commission, a board member of the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, and an activist in other community groups, describes her friend as unstoppable.
"She doesn't let anything get in her way," Setorie said. "She's not the least bit negative. She always sees the glass as half full, and she's always looking for ways she can make things better."
Morris sees her career as a logical continuum.
"I grew up in the Virgin Islands, where we have a heritage of very strong women who not only are the domestic focus in terms of family and household," Morris said, "but they're out there in the workforce and out there in community activism. So it makes sense that I would be very interested in women's issues and women's rights to make sure women have a say."
Lately, through Peace X Peace, an Internet-based organization, Morris is helping women around the globe find camaraderie and more. The organization's website explains its mission as one that "… connects women directly to one another across cultures to create a more balanced, peaceful world … to form supportive friendships, educate and mentor each other, share expertise, design projects and initiatives, and deepen their commitments."
Morris sees the organization as a fusion of energy.
"It takes two of the most powerful forces in the world today — that's women and the Internet — and brings them together to promote sustainable peace around the world," Morris said. "You're able to set up a profile about yourself, tell your story, identify issues you're interested in, and once you've done that, you can connect with other women."
Were Morris to tell about herself, in addition to her passion for women's issues, it would be a story punctuated with a love of family, dance and especially calypso music. She started winning local calypso competitions back in 1979, and is still doing so — scoring third runner-up in a D.C. competition in 2003.
Though she has traveled widely, there's still so much she wants to see. Her life dream includes travel to remote areas of Africa and Asia, and, on a more whimsical note, "… dancing naked in the streets of Rio during Carnival." (Setorie says her friend is definitely not shy!)
As a 40-something professional with decades ahead in her career, Morris predicts that wherever her path leads, it will continue to be linked to "… women's rights and women's development and women's advancement around the world."
According to Setorie, there's plenty ahead.
"I see really, really big things in her future," Setorie said, "and we're all going to benefit from it."
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